I had a moment where I thought I was dreaming. I stood in front of this sixth grade class while students stood in their chairs, some in corners talking to each other, some eating chips and some on their laptops; but none of them were paying any attention to me. For the longest five seconds of my life, I melted where I stood.
I woke up with such an overwhelming excitement that my alarm was still asleep. I dressed myself and my little human, Aria, who hates mornings just as much as I do. Today was different though. For 45 minutes, I was going to be in charge of my own class teaching a Junior Achievement lesson.
I rushed Aria to her Nana’ s house and sped to the Elementary Magnet school which was supposed to be an hour away. I ended up getting there in 40 minutes, which made me a half hour early for my lesson. I reviewed the material in the car, took a deep breath and said a prayer.
I eventually gathered my nerves in my purse and headed up to the class. They were on the playground and I watched with care as they made their way into the room. I met these students already and they were so pleasant that I couldn’t wait to get back. I was excited to entertain them as well as teaching my own class.
The first 15 minutes were easy. They seemed somewhat tired from being outside, but they were attentive and interested. It made me feel great about myself. However, at some point, there was a shift. One male student tried to fight a female student yelling out “bitch! Bitch!” The three students in front of me were talking to each other as if I wasn’t standing there and three girls in the back were giggling and laughing while eating candy. I was sure I could regain their attention. I sent them into groups and had them move around the classroom like I learned in Dr. Scanlon’s class. That brought them back to the lesson and they were interested again. When I tried to check for learning, I lost them again. I felt my confidence leave me in a bead of sweat that raced down the side of my face and onto the floor.
“Think, Christella. Think!” I wasn’t thinking. I don’t think I was BREATHING. How will I teach high school if I can’t get this class in order? I finally had an idea and I was hoping it would work. I fed into the madness.
“Hey what are you eating? Are you enjoying it?”
“Hey are you on youtube? You seriously like that song? Yikes!”
Over and over around the class, I entertained whatever it is was more important than my lesson. I don’t understand the magic behind it, but it worked. I linked their randomness to the lesson I was teaching and it further excited them. I was able to end the lesson with a bang! The students stayed engaged with me. The lesson ended up going over by 15 minutes, but I believe it was worth it. The teacher was being as supportive as he could be in the midst of the madness and invited me back.
I guess it didn’t go as bad as I thought!